Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ season-opening game against the New York Yankees, the team announced Monday.
A statement from the Washington Nationals regarding Opening Day. pic.twitter.com/iejxXeAA4V
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 20, 2020
“Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title,” the team said in a statement.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and part of the White House coronavirus task force, is a self-proclaimed Nationals fan.
He has expressed support for sports’ return amid the COVID-19 pandemic if games are played without fans in attendance. Nationals Park, along with the rest of major league ballparks, will be fan-free during this abbreviated 60-game season.
“I think there is a pathway there,” Fauci said in April, but it would depend on how people kept up their social distancing efforts.
“If we do that successfully and there’s no major outbreaks, I could foresee any of a number of scenarios,” where baseball returns, Fauci said.
The Nationals host the Yankees nearly four months after the MLB regular season was originally scheduled to begin. Spring training was halted in March because of the COVID-19 outbreak and teams resumed preparing to play this month.
WTOP’s Zeke Hartner and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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